For a long time Cayman track and field was synonymous with Kareem Streete-Thompson.
News of his retirement from the sport made that link strained and his involvement with the sport here speculation rather than fact.
However as the 2009 NatWest Island Games proved, Kareem still has much to give to the country and the sport he cherishes.
He served as a coach on the Cayman track team that went to Aland, near Finland for the competition.
The team garnered the most medals for Cayman (10) including six gold medal winners; Wallace Lyttle (100m), Robert Ibeh (200m), Junior Hines (400m hurdles), Perry Anglin (high jump), Ashleigh Nalty (women’s high jump) and the 4x100m relay team.
The relay team consisted of Lyttle, Reid, Maxwell Hyman and Joseph Suberan. They won in 42.12 seconds.
There were three silvers; Michael Letterlough in the hammer throw, Alexandra Terry in the women’s discus and Omar Wright in the high jump and one bronze by Steven Reid in the 100m.
Streete-Thompson played an integral part with the team by sharing his wealth of experience and expertise in track and field.
‘I was the sprints and jumps coach with the team,’ he said. ‘My duties were to make sure they went to their events and that they were prepared.
‘During the events I gave them little cues. Outside of that, because I didn’t coach them during the season, I gave them small pointers and let them do their thing.
‘All I was hoping to do was fine tune their technique and maximize their performances.’
Cayman’s medal haul was a welcome sight for the country and the sport. Kareem was especially impressed with the team’s ability to persevere.
‘The team did excellent. They had a few injuries for example Joseph and Robert went down and they were integral parts of both the 4×100 and 4x400m relays.
‘Wallace and Steven stepped up and executed the way they should. By the final everyone was exhausted because we were stretched thin. But they had no complaints and it was a good experience for them and for me.’
One of the most notable athletes on the team was Perry Anglin. The 20-year-old had struggled with injuries over the last few years. With that history in mind, Kareem was left utterly impressed by the young West Bayer.
‘I’m very impressed with Perry because of the background that drove him to compete. He jumped very well and it’s a sign of things to come.
‘It’s up to him to dedicate himself to the sport. He could be a world beater. He has that much talent.’
With the Cayman team showing some of the best current and impending stars in the sport, Kareem was able to get a good feel of the future for Cayman track and field.
In his eyes Lyttle can be an anchor for the sport in years to come.
‘The thing about sprinting is I’d have to see someone over the course of a season to make a god assessment. But from who I saw run I left the Games feeling like Wallace can be a force to be reckoned with.
‘He’s in a situation where he has been training on his own and he’s in such good shape. He’s 26 and he wants it real bad.
‘In years to come, he will be competing in Cayman and helping the 4x100m in other competitions.’
Ultimately Kareem feels the future of track and field in Cayman rests in the level of commitment from the up-and-coming stars.
‘It’s clear to me we could have a group of 400m runners who are competitive and who can fill a separate 4x400m team from the 4x100m team. I also think we could have true national championship to crown our best athletes.
‘We have a core group of sprinters coming up now and they are quite capable of filling the void. But it’s a case of them dedicating themselves to the craft.’